Proud Residents At Belper Care Home Take Part In 180-Year-Old Tradition

Residents at Spencer Grover Care Home, part of the Milford Care Group, have been getting creative as part of the annual Belper Well Dressing tradition.

Last week Belper came alive with colour and creativity last week as 21 well dressings went on display around the town situated at the River Gardens, Central Methodist Church and Christ Church.

Well dressing was first established in Belper in 1838, when the Mill Lane Well was dressed and then four further wells the following year. The custom stopped during WW2 but began again in 1986.

This was the first time Spencer Grove has taken part in the well dressing but after the positive reaction from the residents, it is a tradition they hope to continue.

“I’m really proud of what the staff and residents have achieved for a first attempt and it has been a joy to join the community in this project,” said Rebecca Rowell, activity co-ordinator.

“Their design named ”Home is where the heart is” was inspired by Milford Care’s love for the residents at Spencer Grove who all took part in bringing the amazing well-dressing to life.”

Well dressing is one of the best known, most popular and colourful customs in Derbyshire. Each village taking part in this custom has its own version and designs worked out prior to the display and designs are not revealed until the last possible moment.

Today wells are decorated with a variety of materials including flower petals, berries, moss, cones and seeds, which are pressed into clay held in a wooden framework.

The theme for Spencer Grove’s contribution, “Home is where the heart is” was based on the home in which they live. The well-dressing proudly shows off Spencer Grove care home, with the four floors and orange roof.

Residents took inspiration from the views visible from their rooftop garden, and the background to their well dressing was the surrounding hills, which they then decided to fill with WW1 poppies that they had made.

One resident commented, “It was really enjoyable, and I found it very therapeutic.”

Another resident said, “It was good exercise for my hands and I’m looking forward to doing another one next year.”

Becky added, “We were really pleased with how it went as we didn’t really know what we were doing. It’s always great when we find something that the residents can really engage in and I’m pleased with how many of them got involved, proudly showing off our home in the design.”

Only one of the residents managed to get out to see the finished piece in situ, but the team at Spencer Grove made sure they filmed all the well dressings and the residents enjoyed watching the video back together and seeing all the other designs.